Russia Brings “Invisibility Suit” To Ukraine War: Will Protect Soldiers From Thermal Imaging Systems

Russia is developing an advanced camouflage suit designed to hide its soldiers and offer unmatched protection against thermal imaging equipment used by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

As reported to TASS, this revelation comes from HiderX, the Russian company spearheading the project. The innovation lies in a proprietary Russian technology that involves coating fabrics with a unique composition. 

The company has not disclosed information regarding the specifics of this composition. However, according to HiderX, their new camouflage suit represents a paradigm shift, breaking away from conventional models that fail to hide objects completely. 

The primary purpose of the suit is to protect the ambient temperature surrounding the wearer, which will make Russian servicemen essentially undetectable to thermal imaging devices used by the enemy. 

“We are developing a fundamentally new product – a camouflage suit that breaks and blurs the silhouette. This is a completely Russian technology based on coating fabrics with a certain composition – our know-how, its details are not disclosed,” stated HiderX. 

A visitor to the International Military-Technical Forum inspects the personal protective equipment of the Armokom company.

The company explicitly mentioned its emphasis on concealing the thermal signature while concurrently obscuring the wearer’s silhouette, thereby improving the overall effectiveness of camouflage. 

The report said that the extensive testing of the latest suit is currently underway, with HiderX aiming to conclude it by the end of January. 

This innovation addresses a persistent challenge in the field, where conventional camouflage, including suits and cloaks, often leaves fighters visible as unnatural objects through the shimmering and shielding of their silhouettes when viewed through thermal imagers.

The company has achieved 350 g through advanced materials and technology to address the challenge of minimizing weight in the suit. This is essential to preserve fighter mobility, given their current 40 to 70 kg equipment load. 

It is unclear whether the Russian military will employ the suit in Ukraine or when it will be incorporated into Moscow’s armed forces.

Ukraine War Spurs Advances In The Development Of Camouflage Suit Technology

Over the past two years, the prolonged conflict in Ukraine has spurred innovative developments within the military establishments of both Moscow and Kyiv, ranging from advancements in drone technology to the creation of specialized survival gear.

One noteworthy innovation from both sides is the development of a modern camouflage suit designed to conceal the wearer’s surrounding temperature effectively. 

This move aims to reduce the infrared signature emitted by soldiers, thereby countering adversaries’ use of thermal imaging equipment. 

The thermal imaging equipment technology relies on detecting heat emitted by objects to identify and track soldiers on the battlefield and provide a potential advantage to forces operating in low-light conditions.

Last year, Ukraine announced the creation of an “invisibility cloak” and revealed plans to produce 150 per month to expand into mass production. These cloaks are designed to shield Ukrainian soldiers from Russian thermal imaging technology. 

Ukrainian soldiers in the view of a thermal imager during a test of the new thermal camouflage / Still image credit: Mykhailo Fedorov, Minister for Digital Transformation of Ukraine on X (Twitter)

At the time, Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s vice prime minister for new technologies, described the cloaks as akin to “invisibility cloaks in fairy tales” that have become a reality in Ukraine. 

By blocking heat radiation, these cloaks render Ukrainian soldiers invisible to Moscow’s thermal imaging devices and enhance their effectiveness, particularly during nighttime operations.

Fedorov emphasized the cloak’s compact and lightweight design, weighing less than 2½ kilograms (5½ pounds). The cloak is resistant to extreme temperatures, including snow, and protects against sun exposure.

In October 2023, expressing his thoughts on Telegram, Fedorov hinted at the potential use of these cloaks by Ukrainian snipers and special forces in combat missions against Russian forces. 

Such cloaks are intended for the slow movement of a soldier in a specific location and are not suitable for rapid movement, as they lead to excessive heat release and minor leakage through the ventilation holes in the cloak.

In Feb 2023, reports also emerged indicating that Russia is developing a camouflage kit designed to render its fighters undetectable to thermal imagers. The kit, through color adaptation, aims to allow them to blend in with the surrounding terrain seamlessly.

Meanwhile, Russian company HiderX has also reported that the country’s special forces are already utilizing its designs.

The existing tactics employed by Russia to conceal its fighters from thermal imaging in Ukraine heavily rely on retaining body heat, a method the company criticizes as inefficient over extended periods. 

The firm highlighted that the fabric material in the cloak ensures a suit weight of 350 grams, making it conveniently portable in a pocket. The design also allows various camouflage patterns for diverse terrains such as forests, deserts, and urban areas.